Read the full piece in the Observer.
One glance at the cover of The Doors’ debut album and you knew the summer of love was over and the flower children were headed straight for the sanitarium. These Doors, as drummer John Densmore later quipped, were clearly “unhinged.”
Ray Manzarek carried the stern countenance of a Protestant preacher, hunched over the keyboard driving Jim Morrison into new, uncharted realms as he delivered psychedelic sermons. Manzarek’s studied glare behind his rimless glasses and stiff, formal appearance (preferring suits to the colorful ad-hoc hippie esthetic) gave him the air of a tidy yet maniacal schoolmaster while guitarist Robby Kreiger resembled a frazzled Venice Beach ragamuffin. And Densmore just seemed like that guy in high school you knew you had to keep away from your little sister. Well, they all did, but none more so than the self-proclaimed “Lizard King,” Jim Morrison.
True rock ‘n’ roll seethes with danger, bordering, at times, on madness, whether Jerry Lee Lewis pounding his piano like a man possessed by the devil he feared, or Jimi Hendrix’s feedback melting your face as he nonchalantly asked, “Are you experienced?”
Released on January 4, 1967, The Doors’ self-titled debut presented the peace and love crowd with a strange invitation. Like some crazy stranger you just met, Jim stands on a precarious precipice, arm stretched out beckoning you to leap with him into the great unknown.
In honor of the album’s 50th anniversary, we present you with a song-by-song synopsis of one of rock’s most enduring debut albums.
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Order your copy of the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of The Doors here.